Now that Toys “R” Us is gone -- or is a shadow of its former self -- other retail giants are scrambling to fill the holiday toy void.
Target is first to strike for the 2019 holiday season, releasing its Bullseye's Top Toys of 2019, a list of toys that may show up on many kids’ Christmas wish list.
We may be just past Labor Day, and Halloween decorations are just now appearing in stores, but Target says it’s not too early to at least start thinking about the holidays. Its new list includes favorites like PAW Patrol and Barbie, as well as popular brands like L.O.L. Surprise, Beyblade, and Ryan's World.
"In 2018, we made strategic investments to position Target as the ultimate destination for toys, including an expanded assortment and playful, reimagined in-store and digital experiences,” said Christina Hennington, senior vice president, merchandising.
‘New and exclusive’
Hennington points to the company’s just-announced collaboration with Disney as evidence that Target is trying to nail down the title of toy destination. Late last month, Target announced that Disney would open stores-within-stores at 25 Target locations in time for the holidays.
“We're introducing thousands of new and exclusive toys,” Hennington said. “Coupled with our expanded fulfillment options, including our popular same-day services, we're making it easier than ever for families and gift-givers to choose Target this holiday season."
Target added a quarter-million square feet for toys last year as Toys “R” Us disappeared from the scene. However, Target has plenty of competition to become the go-to place for toys. Walmart and Amazon have both eyed that niche and competed heavily for it in 2018. Both retailers are expected to roll out holiday toy plans in the days ahead.
All three retailers could face increased competition from Lego, which has emerged recently as one of the world’s biggest toymakers in terms of sales. Lego has 91 stores in the U.S., mostly in shopping malls desperate for popular new stores.
Lego recently announced that it plans to open dozens of new stores before the end of this year, though it isn’t clear how many will be in U.S. markets.
Meanwhile, Toys “R” Us, which filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and liquidated shortly thereafter, may yet rise from the dead. As we reported in June, the owners of the bankrupt company’s assets have reportedly decided to give the business another chance.
Fortune magazine reported consumers might see new, smaller Toys “R” Us stores in a handful of markets during this holiday season.